B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 18, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will be in Montes Claros and Uberlandia, Brazil next week for a series of five exhibition matches.
Originally, the two teams were supposed to be competing in the America’s Cup tournament, but that was cancelled due to the timing of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship (Oct. 12-18 in Puerto Rico).
U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said he and Brazil Head Coach Bernardo “Bernardinho” Rezende discussed the possibility of playing the “friendly” matches while both teams were at the FIVB World League Final Round in July.
Brazil went on to win the 2009 World League title, which the United States had won the year before.
“Brazil has been on top of volleyball for a while except for a few matches,” Knipe said. “For us to train and compete with them is really a great opportunity. They play a great system and we play a great system. It will be a learning experience.”
The two teams have not faced each other since the championship match at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. However the U.S. team that won the gold medal is very different from the one that will compete this year in Brazil. Only four players from that team are on the roster: middle blocker and team captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.), libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.).
Many of the U.S. players have already joined their overseas club teams.
“We’re going in with guys we hope will greatly benefit from playing Brazil this many times,” Knipe said. “You get to reassess the match immediately, make changes and then play again.”
Two young U.S. setters – Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) and Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif.) – will pace the team in Brazil.
“It is going to be really interesting for us as far as how they respond,” Knipe said. “They are very different in their skill sets and what they bring to the floor.
“They are doing a great job in the gym or they wouldn’t be going.”
Outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) will be back with the U.S. Men after recovering from a bout of pneumonia that kept him out of the second half of World League.
“Part of regaining your level of play is the reps and the mental part of getting back out there and doing it,” Knipe said.
According to a Brazilian press release, the players representing Brazil will be setters Marlon and Sandro, opposites Leandrão, João Paulo and Theo, outside hitters Murilo, Thiago Alves and Maurício, middle blockers Lucas, Éder, Sidão and Tiago Barth and liberos Serginho and Mário Jr.
U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team
Tour of Brazil
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
4 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
8 Andy Hein (MB, 611, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
9 Jonathan Winder (S, 6-8, Irvine, Calif., Pepperdine)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11 Robert Tarr (Opp, 6-6, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
12 C Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
15 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)
Sept. 22 in Montes Claros, 7 p.m. local, 3 p.m. PT
Sept. 23 in Montes Claros, 7 p.m. local, 3 p.m. PT
Sept. 25 in Uberlandia, 7 p.m. local, 3 p.m. PT
Sept. 26 in Uberlandia, 5:30 p.m. local, 1:30 p.m. PT
Sept. 27 in Uberlandia, 10 a.m. local, 6 a.m. PT